Home » Saglemi Housing Project: Contractor’s Death Won’t Stop Trial, Says Deputy A-G

Saglemi Housing Project: Contractor’s Death Won’t Stop Trial, Says Deputy A-G

The Ghanaian government is determined to prosecute the former ministers and officials involved in the controversial housing project.

by Victor Adetimilehin

The deputy attorney general (A-G) of Ghana, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has said that the death of the main contractor of the Saglemi Affordable Housing Project will not affect the trial of the former ministers and officials accused of causing financial loss to the state.

The contractor, Andrew Clocanas, reportedly died at his Airport Residential Area apartment in Accra in October, this year.

He was standing trial with former Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alhaji Collins Dauda, and three others over the Saglemi Affordable Housing Project. The project, which was initiated in 2012 by the previous government, aimed to provide 5,000 affordable housing units for low-income earners in the country.

However, the project was marred by allegations of corruption, mismanagement, and breach of contract, leading to the current government initiating legal action against the former ministers and officials involved.

The Trial Continues

Based on a report by Daily Graphic, the deputy A-G explained that the contractor’s death would not affect the substance of the case, hence the trial would proceed. He said that the prosecution had enough evidence to prove that the accused persons had conspired to defraud the state and divert public funds for their gain.

He added that the contractor’s death would not affect the contractual obligations of his company, Construtora OAS Ghana Limited, which was the main contractor of the project.

Meanwhile, when the case was called last Monday at the court presided over by Justice Dr Ernest Owusu-Dapaa, Alhaji Dauda was absent.

Where is Alhaji Dauda?

Asked why his client was absent, Thaddeus Sory told the court that Alhaji Duada had received an emergency invitation to attend a Pan African conference in South Africa as part of parliamentary duties, adding that his absence was not deliberate.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, wondered how the accused, whose passport had been deposited at the court registry as part of bail conditions, traveled without a passport.

The court asked counsel how his client was able to travel without a passport but in his response, Mr Sory noted that he had applied for the accused to have access to his passport.

“The notice came to him impromptu and he instructed us to make the application but apparently, travel arrangements had been made and he was required to leave before the hearing of the application,” he added.

A Quest for Justice

Alhaji Dauda, who is also the National Democratic Congress Member of Parliament for Asutifi South in the Ahafo Region, is standing trial with his successor, Dr Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah; the Chief Director at the Ministry from 2009 to 2017, Alhaji Ziblim Yakubu and a director of RMS, the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) consultancy subcontractor, Nouvi Tetteh Angelo.

They are facing 52 counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the state, abetment of crime, intentionally misapplying public property, and dishonestly causing loss to public property.

They have pleaded not guilty to the charges and have been granted bail. The trial is expected to resume on December 18, 2023.

The Saglemi Affordable Housing Project is one of the many initiatives that the Ghanaian government has undertaken to address the housing deficit in the country, which is estimated to be over two million units.

The government has also assured the public that it will continue to pursue other housing projects that will provide decent and affordable accommodation for the people of Ghana.

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